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Deadhorse - Alaska

Along the North Slope

Driving the Dalton Highway | Hotels

Like the smaller Eagle Plains in the northern Yukon, Deadhorse is the Alaskan version of a company town. Its only reason for being -- above the Arctic Circle -- is to service the busy oil operations of Prudhoe Bay. Deadhorse is the end of the Dalton Highway, a rough and ready drive from Fairbanks, through some of the finest scenery in Alaska.

There are several places to stay in this town of anywhere from 3,500 to 8,000 (depending on how busy the oil operations are at the time). There is a service station in town, with gas and tire service. Scheduled airline flights are available, connecting this Arctic outpost to Fairbanks and Anchorage.

Deadhorse is several miles from the Arctic Ocean. An oil company road leads north from town, but permits are required to travel on the road. The best thing to do is to sign up for a guided tour of the oil fields and the Arctic Coast. These will be available in Deadhorse, after you arrive. If you iwish to travel further, the Arctic Ocean and the oil field are accessible by guided tour only.

This is a spartan little town -- more a camp of pre-fab buildings than anything else. Alcohol is not permitted at Prudhoe Bay, and you'll probably want to eat at your hotel - three meals a day may come with your accommodations.

Dalton Highway bus tours can be booked in Fairbanks, with Alaska Tours, call 866-317-3325 (Toll-free) or (907) 277-3000 or go here.. These tours start from Fairbanks and are limited to ten participants. Tours cover the oil field operations, the pipeline, and feature wildlife viewing along the coast.

Northern Alaska Tours offers a veriety of tours via bus and air. The tour to Deadwood is offered as a return bus trip or a flying tourists to Deadwood and taking a butsto return to Fairbanks. For information, call Toll Free: (800) 474-1986 or direct at (907) 474-8600, or go here.

For oil field tours from Deadhorse, contact Prudhoe Bay Hotel Tours, at (907) 659-2449 or Tour Arctic, at (907) 659-2368.

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Driving the Dalton Highway

If you're adventurous enough to want to drive to Deadhorse (in summer only, and with a permit), prepare carefully for the trip.

You should make note of available places to purchase gasoline, and where to stay and eat along the way. This is a long, long haul, on an aggravating gravel road, with semi trailers having the right of way.

The Dalton Highway begins 83 miles north of Fairbanks, and runs to to Deadhorse and the oil fields of Prudhoe Bay - a trip of 414 miles. This narrow, gravel highway travels through rolling, forested hills, across the Yukon River and Arctic Circle. You'll ride over the rugged and majestic Brooks Range, and descend the long slope to the Arctic Ocean. You're in wilderness almost every mile of the way.

There are two places to buy gas: Yukon River Crossing, and Coldfoot. The Yukon River is reached at Mile 56. Here, there's a small log cabin visitor center staffed by the BLM, open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. You can pick up a lot of good road advice here. Also at the crossing is Yukon River Tours, offering boat trips three times each day.

Northern Ventures operates the gas station (with tire repairs!), a cafe, and hotel at the crossing.

The Arctic Circle is crossed at Mile 115 with Coldfoot (lodgings) at Mile 175. Coldfoot Services calls itself the northernmost truck stop in the world, and it just might be. The motel here (Slate Creek Inn) has 50 rooms and a 24-hour cafe The RV park offers plug-ins and a dump station. For motel/RV park information and reservations, call (907) 678-5224.

The government Interagency Visitor Information Center is located in Coldfoot -- open during summer months from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Call (907) 678-5209 for information from the BLM, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service. The Dalton is an access road for Gates of the Arctic National Park. Staff at the visitor center are there to answer questions during summer months, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. Printed material on the region is also available.

North of Coldfoot, the road enters the Brooks Range, with a campground at Mile 179. You'll pass the tree line near Mile 230, before climbing over Atigun Pass (4,000 feet).

The town of Prudhoe Bay, at Mile 414, is the end of the Dalton Highway. From

Where to Stay

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Accommodations in Deadhorse (Prudoe Bay)

Prudhoe Bay Motel
P.O. Box 340004, Prudhoe Bay, Alaska 99734

Arctic Caribou Inn
Prudhoe Bay, AK 99734

Arctic Oilfield Hotel
Prudhoe Bay, AK 99734

Service Area Ten Camp Hotel
Pouch 34004
Prudhoe Bay, AK 99737-0044

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